|Etienne Lawyers' chairman Steven Brown|
A change of solicitor notice filed in the NSW Supreme Court shows that the Hall Chadwick insolvency duo are now relying on Hicksons Lawyers to defend them in a stoush with a disgruntled creditor.
In a statement of claim filed in October 2012, Albarran and Pleash are accused of managing the affairs of a company subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement (DoCA) in a manner prejudicial to creditors.
Among other things, the plaintiffs claim Albarran and Pleash breached their fiduciary duty by allowing Etienne - the deed administrators' legal advisers - to amass $790,000 in legal fees.
Albarran and Pleash - and Etienne for that matter - reject the allegations, arguing the more than $1.4 million in combined legal, administrator and other fees incurred over a three year period result from the failure of the company's warring creditors to agree to a solution.
The matter is set down for directions in August and when the time comes, Albarran and Pleash will have to get used to having a newcomer in their corner.
Brown has had Albarran’s back in some tight spots in the past. In 2009 he saved the Hall Chadwick high-flyer from bankruptcy, convincing a judge to allow Albarran to pay a $1.6 million judgement debt in instalments.
The final payment – owed to Hellier Capital’s Graham Hellier - was reportedly due in February this year.
But with Etienne’s fees at the heart of this latest row, Brown has chosen to eliminate the possibility of a conflict or perception of conflict by relinquishing the gig.